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US Trades Murder Charge for El Chapo Extradition

It seems that the world's largest trafficker in illicit drugs likes his prison in Mexico, or at least, he doesn't want to face jail and court time in America where he is less likely to escape this country's maximum security prisons.

It's a bit of an annoying development for American prosecutors who quietly agreed to drop multiple murder charges against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in order to ease his extradition and to face justice here. It looks like more grease will be needed.

California's Top Ethics Prosecutor, Jayne Kim, Resigns Her Post

The California State Bar's chief trial counsel, Jayne Kim, will be leaving for good amid controversy and a recent "no confidence" vote against her by fellow state bar employees. Apparently, Kim's resignation has been in the cards for a while, delayed only by circumstances surrounding an infusion of new blood at the trial counsel level.

Kim's resignation came as a bit of a surprise to those who thought the waters had cleared for the State Bar's ethics prosecutor, but for her part, Kim has signaled that now was the "right time for [her] to move on."

For decades, fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil fought to halt climate change regulations, denying the existence of anthropogenic global warming and funding outside groups dedicated to stymieing environmental laws. Yet, while action on climate change stalled and oil and gas profits skyrocketed, recent reports have revealed that those companies were well aware of the dangers their products posed to the environment.

Now, a new California bill seeks to hold past climate change deniers accountable for their actions, by extending the statute of limitations under California's Unfair Competition Law. If Senate Bill 1161 is adopted, those who attempted to deceive the public on climate change could be liable for misleading statements they made decades ago.

Will California Jump Ship on Daylight Saving Time?

A bill has been introduced into California halls to undo a law that has been bothering Californians since 1949: daylight savings time. If the bill makes it to the ballot and passes, Californians will no longer have to wrangle with "Spring forward, fall back."

Unfortunately, the Assembly bill still has a bit of process to go through before it can be approved into law, so we'll have at least one more season to worry about getting up earlier.

Jerry Brown Appoints a Lot of Public Defenders to the Bench

Jerry Brown has been appointing a lot of judges with backgrounds as public defenders, and that has a tendency to lead to less harsh sentencing policies. It's just one of the major hallmarks of his governing style which has generally emphasized a gentler stance on criminal punishment.

Though Brown's judicial appointments get less attention than his pushes for prisoner realignment and proposal to let thousands of non-violent offenders qualify for early parole, they will have as strong if not a stronger impact on criminal justice in the Golden State.

Twitter can be hard. Politicians accidentally tweet out compromising photos, prosecutors embarrassingly follow porn stars, and Courtney Love accidentally accuses her attorney of being "bought off."

And Love's Twitter mishaps are just the tip of the crazy iceberg that floated in to California's Second District Court of Appeals after Love's former attorney unsuccessfully sued her for the allegedly defamatory tweet.

California bar membership fees were due yesterday, as most in-state lawyers are likely aware. Depending on which boxes you check, that money makes its way to philanthropic, historical, and public interest funds, and of course, to the State Bar's budget.

For the year ahead, though, the California State Bar Association will have a little less budget to work with. No, don't get too excited -- they aren't cutting your fees. But they are planning on trimming the fat by about $10 million.

If you purchased some bulk shrimp from Costco last summer, it's possible that your shrimp cocktail included seafood that was "derived from a supply chain that depends upon documented slavery, human trafficking, and other labor abuses" -- at least according to a lawsuit against the company.

A California woman sued the retailer last August, alleging that the company's Thailand-sourced shrimp were produced with slave labor, despite its supplier code of conduct which prohibits human rights abuses. That's false advertising, Monica Sud argued in her putative class action.

But it turns out, Sud had never purchased Thai shrimp from Costco, slavery-sourced or otherwise. Her suit was dismissed last Friday for lack of standing.

On October 23rd, the Southern California Gas Company's natural gas storage well sprung a leak in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch. For over two months, it has spewed gas, releasing over 80,000 metric tons of methane. No one seems able to stop it, either.

While the leak pumps out thousands of tons of toxic greenhouse gases, the lawsuits are already piling up: 25 so far and climbing.

The California State Bar Board of Trustees announced in December that it would be appointing Jayne Kim to a second four-year term as chief trial counsel, the state bar's top prosecutor position. The chief trial counsel is responsible for investigating and prosecuting attorneys for professional misconduct, overseeing more than 200 employees and a $40 million budget.

But Kim is a contentious choice for reappointment, after employees in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel overwhelmingly voted "no confidence" in her leadership in October. Here's some background on Kim and the controversy behind her.